DOB: 18 September 1992
From: Edenhope-Apsley/North Ballarat Rebels, selection #53 2010 National Draft
Rising Star nomination - Round 13, 2012 vs Greater Western Sydney
Best Young Player - 2012
Goal of the Year nominee - Round 14, 2017
Leading goalkicker - 2018
Life Member - 2020
Premiership player - 2021
Games: 210* (to end 2023)
Drafted to play as a tall forward or ruckman, McDonald instead spent most of his first season the season at Casey Demons developing as a key position defender. He was eventually handed a senior debut in the second last game of the season and impressed across the last fortnight of the year.
After being left out of the side early in 2012 he returned as a late change for the Round 5 match and impressed with a strong performance on Nick Riewoldt. After a string of good performances he eventually earned a Rising Star nomination.
McDonald finished sixth in the Rising Star awards final, receiving seven votes in total, and was named Melbourne's Best Young Player at the end of the year.
After missing the start of 2013 with an injury McDonald returned to be one of his side's most consistent players for the season despite the team having a shocking campaign where they won just two matches.
He played all but one match in 2014 in a much improved Demon defence which slashed its points against total compared to the previous year. In July 2014 McDonald signed a two year contract extension, tying him to the club until the end of 2016.
His brother Oscar was drafted to the club before the 2015 season and made his debut late in the year. For the second consecutive year he played every game in 2016, signing a contract extension late in the season. McDonald started in defence again in 2017, before a surprise mid-season conversion to a key position forward in the absence of Jesse Hogan. He had a purple patch of 13 goals in three weeks in the middle of the season, including a fifth against West Coast that won the game with 20 seconds to play.
McDonald continued to play exclusively as a forward in 2018, more than doubling his career goal tally and leading the club with 53 majors despite missing the first five weeks with a toe injury. Kicked a career high bag of six in the Round 12 loss to Collingwood.
Began 2019 as his side's focal point but struggled to recapture the form of the previous year, even moving back into defence for one game early in the year. He didn't kick multiple goals in a game until Round 8, then only three more times for the season. McDonald's best performance of the year was his last, kicking 6.2 in three quarters against Carlton before a knee injury put him out of the game and ended his season.
McDonald's 2020 campaign was also a disappointment, kicking just seven goals in nine games and being dropped late in the year. The club unsuccessfully offered him for trade, and until pre-season injuries to Sam Weideman and Ben Brown, he was expected to start the year with the Casey Demons. He made his second chance count, and was one of the side's best players in their 9-0 start to the year. His year culiminated in a two goal Grand Final performance, including one after the siren as Melbourne's drought-breaking victory was confirmed.
After playing in the first nine wins of the season, a foot injury kept McDonald out of the rest of the year. He returned late in the season with Casey in the VFL, but Melbourne's elimination from the finals cost him a chance to play any more senior games. 2023 saw McDonald battling injuries again. He kicked four of his nine goals for the year against struggling West Coast, and only had more game with multiple goals. After returning with Casey, McDonald won a spot in Melbourne's finals side after kicking five in the VFL Wildcard game but was ineffective in both games.
|2012 Practice Match vs Port Adelaide||Wrestling||$1200 fine|
|Round 9, 2021||Kneeing||$2000 fine|
melbournefc.com.au - 10/07/2014